Cafe Vue at 401, Part 3

6/14/2011 09:54:00 PM

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I was lucky enough to have a full-on, blow-out 10-course degustation dinner at Vue De Monde on Saturday night.  It was a totally amazing experience, and I'll be blogging it just as soon as I sort through the gazillion photos!  In the meantime, I'd love to share with you a meal I enjoyed at another of Shannon Bennett's restaurants last fortnight - a lovely little celebratory dinner at Cafe Vue at 401.

Cafe Vue at 401
401 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne VIC 3004
(03) 9866-8055

For our celebratory family dinner, we wanted to go somewhere special but low-key.  Cafe Vue at 401 fit the bill perfectly!  (I have previously visited for lunch, and for dinner).  They still do a $55 for 3-courses deal, but you are now restricted to a set menu of the day, rather than being able to choose anything from the menu. The à la carte menu still represents good value, however, with most mains generously portioned and in the $30-$40 range.

We had a round of drinks to start: 2 cocktails (yay!) and a beer.

Emerson's Pilsner
La Paloma - Tequila, sparkling grapefruit, lime - $14
Un Paysan - Elderflower liqueur, lemon, mint, Chandon sparkling wine - $16
No surprise that the Un Paysan cocktail was mine - elderflower liqueur and sparkling wine - fabulous!  We ordered a Warsteiner, but were inexplicably brought an Emerson's Pilsner - not quite sure what happened there!  We did have a couple of communication issues with our waitress throughout the evening - she was absolutely lovely, but had quite a strong accent, so sometimes it was a bit difficult for us to understand each other.

But onto the good points: the food!  The bread was made in-house, refilled regularly, and delicious.
Bread, round 1
I loved the cute butter plate! I'm such a crockery junkie - WANT!

Cute butter and salt & pepper plate
The second lot of bread was even better.  It was brown bread, still warm from the oven. Soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.  It reminded me of German bread, which, as we all know, is my favourite bread in the world!
Bread, round 2
We skipped entrées and went straight for mains.  It was a Monday night, after all!  And I often struggle to do a full 3-course meal at restaurants anyway.

Mum ordered the pan-fried blue eye cod, which came with a super-creamy and buttery pommes mousseline.  She absolutely loved this dish, with its fresh, tender fish and sharp sauce.
Pan fried blue-eye cod with caper sauce - $34
Sandra, my father and I were all in the mood for something a little more substantial, and each chose from the rôtisserie section of the menu.  The rôtisserie dishes all come with a celeriac remoulade, a dark jus and vegetables cooked in the rôtisserie.

Free range Milawa Chicken  (half) - $36
The chicken was the standout dish: it was incredibly tender, with a sticky, tasty skin.  Apparently you can buy the whole chicken takeaway - how good would that be?
Duck breast - $33
The duck was a well executed dish: slightly rare, very tender and juicy.
Slow-cooked pork - $35
The pork was the least successful of the rôtisserie dishes - it was very fatty, and the pork rind was unfortunately chewy rather than crisp and crackly.  I'd definitely stick to the chicken or duck next time!

Potatoes and carrots from the rôtisserie
We didn't realise the rôtisserie accompaniments would be quite so generous, so we'd ordered a couple of sides as well.  We only managed to eat one potato and a few carrots between us, but luckily they let us take the remaining home with us.  They made a fantastic lunch the next day!

We couldn't not order the following salad, as it had all of my mum's favourite ingredients: pumpkin, feta and rocket.
Roast pumpkin, feta and rocket salad with yuzu dressing - $7.50

Pommes frites - $8
If you're not in the mood for a full-sized dessert, Cafe Vue's pastry cabinet provides tempting sweet options at very reasonable prices:
Raspberry Mousse - $4.50

Paris Brest - $3.50 (Yes, really).

But whilst the pastry cabinet was tempting, I couldn't go past the pavlova cheesecake from the dessert menu.  I had no idea what it would be, but I knew I'd love it - two of my favourite desserts combined into one!
Pavlova cheesecake - $14
There were swirls of smooth and mild cheesecake mixture (very mild, possibly based on fromage frais rather than cream cheese or mascarpone), crunchy little meringue blobs, and bits of strawberries, strawberry gelée, passionfruit and a strawberry-champagne sauce.  Dee-licious.

Despite a couple of small issues, we still really enjoyed our dinner at Cafe Vue.  It's a great spot for an easygoing dinner, where you can enjoy a special, well-made meal without fighting maddening crowds or spending a fortune.

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  1. One word- EPIC! Even the bread sounds so good...butter...arghl...



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